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Adventures in Mother-Sitting [Kindle Edition]

Doreen Cox , Phyllis M Olmstead
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For a daughter, at age 61, being called “mommy” by her own mother was a heart-wrenching experience. This happened to the author during the course of a three-year adventure as the at-home caregiver to her mother, much loved yet caught up in a downward spiral of physical, mental and developmentally regressed disabilities.

Adventures in Mother-Sitting is not just a chronicle about the dementia-induced antics of an independent, spirited mother as she approaches the time of her death. The book is also about a daughter’s journey through an emotional roller coaster-passage of grief intermixed with surprising sweet instances of joyful connections with not only her child-like mother but, also, the core of her Self. Throughout the book, the author portrays the ways in which the physical and mental needs of an old-age mother and the emotional, spiritual needs of a caregiver daughter lovingly served each other and how the dementia served them both.

Each day is an adventure because when dementia is present, the typical actions involved with daily care habits become unpredictable. The experience is also termed an adventure because of the surprising twists and turns of emotion that arose in the author, compelling her to recognize and face deep-seated fears and unwanted emotional reactions whenever her performance was not in accord with the spiritual vision that she had of herself. Moments of comic relief would save the author from the depths of grief’s despair during not only pill-taking and messy hygienic episodes but, also, during her mother’s recurring stumbles and falls and during those night-time personality changes that occur due to sun downing events that are a common aspect of dementia.

Adventures in Mother-Sitting is a story that reveals a mother’s final gifts of spirit to a daughter who had yearned for and sought after ever-deepening experiences of faith, trust, humility, and the peace that passes all of her understanding. The mantra that kept her going, reverberating in the back of the author’s mind, was an echo of her mother’s life-long response to any calamitous event. Her mother had always told her girls, “You do what you have to do. God gives you the strength. That’s how I was able to raise you four little girls after your daddy died.”

Regressed in her mind to comprehending the world through a child’s point of view, the mother’s last few years of life were full of happy, joyful moments despite the downward spiral of her physical body’s health. This mother’s expressions of spontaneous joy became the balm that soothed the author’s own tired, sad, and despairing spirit. “How can I stay sad in the presence of my mother’s joy?” the author wrote in her journal one night. Adventures in Mother-Sitting depicts not only the role changes that occur in the relationship between a caregiver daughter and her beloved mother but also, the more compassionate relationship that the daughter gains with herself as she learns to walk more honestly and gently with her fears, worries, and shortcomings.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The writing of a book, ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING, came from the pages of a journal that I kept while a Care Bear to my mother. It had been a very long time since I had taken the time to write in a journal for my life had steadied and the need was no longer present. Caring for my mother tumbled my carefully woven psyche into pieces, sort of like Humpty-Dumpty. At least, that is how the experience felt for me. Keeping a journal was my safety-valve, my notes to myself relative to maintaining some sanity while coping with the dementia that had taken over my mother's brain. My mother was able to be at home when it was her end-time. When the family had gathered, the wife of a nephew asked to read my journal. "If you can decipher the chicken scratches, go for it," I had  answered. Jenni was a reader and it was her encouragement that prompted me to turn the journal into a book, at least for my family and friends. I discovered, during the process of turning a journal into a book form, that I loved the entire process of writing. During Mother-sitting, I had learned to accept and revel in my messy, human responses. I say, "revel," because I had spent a lot of years trying to rise above those messy kinds of responses to calamitous situations. Revel does not mean that I take delight in being angry or frustrated or furious or disdainful. Revel means that I take delight in just being a regular human being who is doing the best that she can in any given situation. Thus, when writing my book, I reveled in the messiness of trying to put a memoir together in a flow that others can consider honest, interesting, humorous and touching. Deep inside me, I have a sense that the spirit of my mother kept me steady enough to complete our book. She had always wanted me to write a book. Here it is, Mother.

About the Author

Armed with a BS degree from a liberal arts college, a sense of wanderlust, and a passion for experiential knowledge relating to people and their social environments, Doreen Cox began a career path that, to some, might appear haphazard. Venturing from business firm project coordinator positions into the arena of hospital staff recruitment probably looks odd. Add in a sabbatical "to find myself," she told others, then ending up in the substance abuse counseling field could define her as "unsettled." Throw into the mix the author's work as a mental health screener or a severely emotionally disturbed children's case manager and one might consider such a person as unreliable to hire. Such is the author's career path. The common denominators, however, for each career endeavor are the use of communication and liaison skills in settings that were dynamic to the author because of the diversity of people whom she encountered. The author was into her eighth year as a group counselor at an alternative school for at-risk students when her most challenging position of all presented itself. The author's first book, Adventures in Mother-Sitting, is a memoir of her three years as a full-time caregiver. Because of the downward spiral of her mother's mental, physical, and developmentally regressed abilities due to dementia, the author's well-honed communication and listening skills were put to their ultimate test. Her previous career adventures had indeed added more stores of knowledge, fostered the growth of self-confidence and provided assuagement of that restless spirit. The experience as her mother's caregiver, however, offered the ultimate spiritual adventure, bringing to the author bittersweet lessons related to trust, faith, unconditional love and compassion. The author, wanderlust currently at rest, resides in Florida.

Product Details

  • File Size: 386 KB
  • Print Length: 266 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1934194433
  • Publisher: Olmstead Publishing (January 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00505W0VM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,237 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventures in Mother Sitting October 27, 2011
By BLoube
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is a must read for family members, care givers, health professionals, nurses, retirement community and hospice staff who work with dementia or other related mental health conditions. You will experience first hand how a daughter handled the disease and the child like behavior of her own mother. I felt as though I was in their house living the experience along with them and learning about how one copes with the surprises and the unexpected behavior of her own mother. I highly recommend this book so those who are dealing with dementia does not feel alone. You will identify with Dody's first hand experience becoming the mnother of her own MOM. Please share this with anyone who can benefit from such insight into the world of dementia. You will come away with a sense that the author hears your pain as she writes so beautifully and vividly what she experienced for three years caring for her mother.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson in Love January 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is truly a love story. No, not a love story in the boy-girl romantic sense but a story about the love between a mother and a daughter.

Author Doreen Cox shares her experience as a "care bear" during the last three years of her mother's life and how she learned to live with her mother's slow progression from a viable, interesting, lovable, and happy woman to a woman overcome by dementia unable to handle even her most basic bodily needs. And Ms. Cox doesn't shirk away from those details. She repeatedly quotes her mother's mantra:
"You just do what you have to do."

Ms. Cox starts out this story as her mother's daughter and friend and roommate. She gradually becomes her care bear and then her "mommy." Though her mother always could articulate a thank you and big toothless smile for everything Ms Cox did for her, she became like a child thanking her mommy.

Ms Cox gave up her as a career group counselor at an alternative school for at-risk and SED high school students to care for her mother, and she never regretted it. She took on all the necessary tasks that were required to keep her mother fed, medicated, and clean and she never shied away from them. Even after her mother's death, she says: "The desire in me to take care of Mother to her end-time had been very strong, a `calling,' I had termed it. My `calling' included the care of Mother's body to its end."

I am in awe of Ms. Cox' loving and un-resentful care of her mother. She never asked the question on many other's minds: "How could anyone do this day after day, night after night, for so long?"
Her loving heart and soul just wouldn't allow it.

I recommend this book for anyone dealing with dementia. It definitely is a lesson in love.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love conquers all November 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I don't know where to begin with a review of this story. It's a memoir, written by the author from journals she kept during the 3 years she was caring for her mother who suffered dementia. It's not an easy read. The author has laid bare everything about her experience from the day to day tasks in looking after her mother, to the feelings and emotions that she struggled to deal with as her mother's mental health slowly deteriorated and left her in a childlike state. This is a touching, poignant, and often heart wrenching account of what the author had to deal with. This book is important in many ways. It is the story of one person's journey to understand her humanness. She has openly described herself as someone who over analyses everything, tries to be calm and nice in every situation, and these aspects of her personality were challenged when she faced the 'adventure' that was looking after her mother. I admire the author's honesty in her account of the 3 difficult years she suffered. Although, I'm sure she would say that she did not suffer but she learned so much through her experience. Her deep sense of faith and spirituality comes across in the book. This book would no doubt help other people who have parents or other elderly relatives suffering from dementia or similar conditions. I'm sure anyone who has ever had to care for a loved one who could no longer look after him/herself, would relate to the author's experiences as related in this book. This book does contain very sad scenes. It's a sad book. But there is so much love within the pages, and ultimately it is an uplifting account of a traumatic experience. Well worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Roles are Changed, Love still Reigns February 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dody uses her three sisters and her Aunt Britt, along with friends, to give her help, validation, and emotional support during her mother's "end journey," but she is the main "carebear," causing a myriad of emotions. While Dody is patient, calm and humorous with her mother/child, one day her patience dissipates over a pill swallowing episode and she loses it completely. She swears (not a habit), jumps up and down and acts as if she is the tantrum-throwing petulant child. Her mother remains unperturbed, always sweet, perhaps wondering what made her "carebear" so angry.

These instances are essential for Dody's sanity, as she keeps on, day after long day, and most nights--three years being mother to an erratic, stubborn, yet lovable "child".
Many readers might one day become "carebears" for their own loved ones in various stages of dementia and others, the ones cared for--both acts of love above all others. This remarkable story leads the pathway through trying, loving, humorous times until the path ends. And in examining her own feelings, Dody comes to know herself better, accepting the "good, the bad and the ugly," which strengthens her fun-loving method of caring for her child/mother.

It's a heartrending experience for Dody, watching her strong mother fade away--the one Dody could always depend upon for wisdom and advice. Dody attempts to use humor while hanging on to that part of her mother for as long as she can. This book portrays the power and empathy within one woman who chose to become a "carebear" for her beloved mother.
The bittersweet finish to this memoir will satisfy readers, feeling as though they are living through this experience with Dody.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Doreen Cox is a positive role model for us women who are loving and...
Readers---If you are one of us... a woman in her middle years or older who is caring for her aged this case a mother... with dementia...this book is for you. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia
Adventures in Mother Sitting is a book written by the daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Doreen Cox wrote from raw and real emotions and experiences. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lynn A. Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars The real story here is NOT how this woman died, but how she lived!
Doreen Cox's job as a care-giver was both sad and enviable. Sad because caring for a person with dementia is exhausting and gut-wrenching. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Whistlers Mom
Doreen Cox's describes her book, Adventures in Mother-Sitting, as being cathartic and her own dance with grief, I believe it is much more than that. Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. Moran Bishop
5.0 out of 5 stars Love endures through the generations of this remarkable family
Adventures in Mother-Sitting

In 'Adventures in Mother-Sitting' Doreen Cox has written a unique memoir of the time she spent caring for her beloved mother, Eva, in her... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ms J. Worstall
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Caring
These situations where we must watch the suffering of a loved one with an aching heart and a sense of hopelessness - thank goodness for humour and a deep abiding love that seemed... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Julie Elizabeth Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Love sweetness became a gentle balm...
What an incredible journey of love, commitment, strength and patience! Adventures in Mother-Sitting is the memoir of Doreen (Dody) Cox's time as a caregiver (care bear) for her... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jan Romes
5.0 out of 5 stars old age
Wow - what a book. What a brave woman - documenting even the personally difficult times. This should be required reading for all dealing with family and friends dealing with... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Phyllis Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Insightful
When I was a young woman, I worked in a hospital that was dedicated to people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. It was heart breaking to watch these people slide. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Melodie Ramone
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Memoir
"Grief's journey does not consider your race, gender, beliefs, spiritual focus, sexual orientation, or political side. The passage through grief offers the same benefits to all. Read more
Published 21 months ago by P.A. Edelheit
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More About the Author

After a somewhat convoluted career path in various business-related and mental health endeavors, Doreen Cox resigned from her job in order to care for her mother. It was not until after she died that Doreen honored a long-held wish of her Mother's and, in the process, discovered a new passion: writing. ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING emerged from the pages of her journal, written while dementia took them both on an unpredictable, yet heart-warming adventure. A SACRED JOURNEY is her first published story, a fantasy that has an ever-after, end-of-life theme.
On a part-time basis, Doreen teaches an offsite GED class of multicultural adults in one of her favorite places to be: a library. She lives in central Florida.


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